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Mishit Tip Sheets

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3 of 5

Topping the Ball
Topped Shot Impact

Topping the ball happens when the clubface contacts the ball above its equator.

Illustration by William Glessner
(Editor's Notes: On a topped shot, the ball runs along the ground without getting airborne. This is caused by the club making contact above the equator of the ball. A top can also be thought of as an extreme thin shot, and the checklist is essentially the same for each. The tips below are written by instructor Roger Gunn from the perspective of a right-hander; lefties should reverse the directional elements.)

Diagnosing Topping


Grip
Not normally a factor with a top shot.

Set-up
Your shoulders could be pointing well right or well left at address. This puts the bottom of the swing in the wrong place.

Ball Position
Look for a large deviation from the norm. A driver's ball position should be around the front heel, moving progressively farther back until the ball is near the middle of the stance with short irons (photo).

Backswing
The club may be deviating from its gentle arc on the backswing, tracking a path that's either too much inside or too much outside. Keep your posture constant without raising up during the backswing.

Downswing
Don't try to lift the ball into the air by pulling your arms up through impact. Check to make sure the circle of your swing is in the right place by making practice swings in which you try to hit the ground slightly after the ball. (See Hit Down, Dammit! for more about the importance of striking the ball with a descending blow on iron shots.)

Next page: Shanks

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